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Construction of Buddhist University begins

by Phonesavanh Sangsomboun, Vientiane Times, Monday, January 25, 2010

Construction of the first Lao Buddhist University began on Sunday in Vientiane with a stone laying ceremony.

The University plans to provide a new hope for ethnic children and rural people, who lack educational opportunity.

Construction of the university will rely mainly on donations from the public and will cost around US$45 million.

The Deputy President of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, the National Education Chairman Venerable Bouakham Saribouth said the university would be a higher educational institute for Lao monks and for Buddhist education.

At present, monks and novices, youths and children of ethnic communities lack educational opportunity, but they are ambitious and want to have a higher education. So they increasingly look to temple schools and institutions for learning.

The University will be a destination for students who have passed their final examination in Buddhist secondary schools and general Buddhist colleges including up to 5,000 monks who do not have a place to continue their studies because of lack of educational opportunity and will finally disrobe.

The university is to have 26 buildings, including a meeting area, two dormitories, and four three-storey school buildings to hold around 3,000 students. There will also be a kitchen, teachers' rooms, libraries and toilets.

To provide better educational opportunity to disadvantaged persons, regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas contributes to national human resource development, which is in accordance with the party's policy, the venerable said.

The Lao Buddhist Fellowship realised that Lao monks and novices are mostly the children of ethnic communities and workers, who have an educational disadvantages due to their economic condition.

According to Venerable Bouakham, Laos needs to build a Buddhist University because many students who graduate from high school education in nine provinces are unable to further their study in higher education.

With qualified ordinary and monk teachers, who graduate from overseas, Venerable Bouakham is confident of providing a high standard of education to monks who study a bachelor degree from the University.

“We are preparing our teachers at the moment, some of them are being educated in Thailand, Myanmar, ten monks are in India and some in other countries. These teachers will actively help us to build effective human resources to the serve the country.”

The university will offer courses on subjects such as religion, education and social science with lower fees than other universities.

Some people don't see the importance of monk education, they think it is not of a high standard, but monks can also provide better education to students because they think deeply about issues.

“After monks graduate from university they can also serve society as ordinary teachers. In fact monks play an important role in teaching people about morality and good manners, especially preserving culture,” the venerable said.

The site for the new university campus is about 60 kilometres from the centre of Vientiane. To reach the temple take Bankeun road after crossing Thangone bridge for about 41km until you see the sign on the right hand side for Vat Phabath Elkhan, follow this road for 19km to reach the temple.

source: http://www.asianewsnet.net/news.php?id=9762&sec=1

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